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[Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza


Just to add a little sprinkling of Buddhism to the mix, I noticed this in the New Yorker:


I'd call this an interesting collision of east meets west, as it concerns a thing called "American Buddhism".

A few quotes perhaps relevant to this thread:

"Instead of there being a single, consistent Cartesian self that monitors the world and makes decisions, we live in a kind of nineties-era Liberia of the mind, populated by warring independent armies implanted by evolution, representing themselves as a unified nation but unable to reconcile their differences, and, as one after another wins a brief battle for the capital, providing only the temporary illusion of control and decision. By accepting that the fixed self is an illusion imprinted by experience and reinforced by appetite, meditation parachutes in a kind of peacekeeping mission that, if it cannot demobilize the armies, lets us see their nature and temporarily disarms their still juvenile soldiers."

and (my emphases):

"Other recent books on contemporary Buddhism share Wright’s object of reconciling the old metaphysics with contemporary cognitive science but have a less doctrinaire view of the mind that lies outside the illusions of self. Stephen Batchelor’s “After Buddhism<https://www.amazon.com/After-Buddhism-Rethinking-Dharma-Secular/dp/0300224346/>” (Yale), in many ways the most intellectually stimulating book on Buddhism of the past few years, offers a philosophical take on the question. “The self may not be an aloof independent ‘ruler’ of body and mind, but neither is it an illusory product of impersonal physical and mental forces,” he writes. As for the mind’s modules, “Gotama is interested in what people can do, not with what they are. The task he proposes entails distinguishing between what is to be accepted as the natural condition of life itself (the unfolding of experience) and what is to be let go of (reactivity). We may have no control over the rush of fear prompted by finding a snake under our bed, but we do have the ability to respond to the situation in a way that is not determined by that fear.” Where Wright insists that the Buddhist doctrine of not-self precludes the possibility of freely chosen agency, Batchelor insists of Buddhism that “as soon as we consider it a task-based ethics . . . such objections vanish. The only thing that matters is whether or not you can perform a task. When an inclination to say something cruel occurs, for example, can you resist acting on that impulse? . . . Whether your decision to hold the barbed remark was the result of free will or not is beside the point.” He calls the obsession with free will a “peculiarly Western concern.” Meditation works as much at the level of conscious intention as it does at the level of unreflective instinct."

can we learn something by seeing the blending of traditions here that might lend something to the discussion of freedom?

I sort of wonder what Spinoza, Marx, and Vygotsky might have thought about Buddhism? From where might they have connected?

Just thinking out loud...

Kind regards,